Saturday 25 July 2020

Halloween is Always in Your Heart.

Hello, Hello, Hello. That the greeting my gut told me to do. Another week, another week shielding apparently. Shielding is meant to be ending on 1st August and there's a vaccine in the air. Hopefully. this does mean the end of Lockdowns in Scotland. Sadly, a lot of places are still high. Universal Horror Night has been cancelled at both parks this year. Jokes about Halloween being cancelled have been going around since this start. Don't let Halloween be cancelled. You can't cancel Halloween. Its just whether you can go d

In a few years time, we have pandemic theme haunted houses again. Yes, they already a thing. There are a lot of places that are meant to be haunted due to having been used as temporary hospitals for past pandemics but most of them were 50 years ago at least.

I haven't been doing much. Finally, finished editing a video that I've been working on a few weeks because I am me. I still need to finish the captions though. Released it without them because no one watchs my video anyway which was a mistake because I say something is so confusing like five times and a few of them definitely should have been edited out. I've captioned over half the books in the video, what a shame that's only 6 minutes of 20-minute video because I rant about the fourth book and I guess had more to say about the 5th one that the others.

I also have been adding triggers and tropes to because I have been reading and reviewing books. My Netgalley feedback percentage is now 45%. Well, for a day and then I got approved for another book so its back to 44% but I'm reading. I was bagging that I have no books that came in August except a graphic novel and audiobook. Guess what though, I have four books that come in the 3 September so those need to be read in August so they can be reviewed before release. It's a very first world problem I know. They fixed the Audiobook issue and I've not listened to it much. Not a lot of Audiobook jobs to do. I got to catch on my BuJo so I'll listen to it then.

I almost wrote fiction but then I remember that I'm constantly behind on other things. I'm sitting on six videos I want out as soon as possible. The StrangeAthon starts Monday and I haven't edited my TBR video yet for it. It shouldn't take too long but never can tell with uploading speeds. Maybe I should also do a blog post for the StrangeAthon on Book Review blog.

There's not much else to say I'm currently doing five things right now (watching TV; captioning a video; writing this; reading a book; editing a video) and I have something in the oven right now so let's make one less.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Book Review: The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

A great Doll House book is my white whale.

You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?

So this book involves a doll house, was my mystery doll house need finally going to be fulfilled after the disappointment that was The Miniaturist. It did fulfil that need better, but not fully. Firstly, the summary fails to at all mention Corinne's sister Ashley who this book is almost equally about.

This book is told from the two sisters POV with a mystery Then Narrator, which happens to be a trend.

Corinne is desperately asinine for a lot of the book. The police are not called till after major incidents and then are not given all the information for plot reasons.

There's great build up and then falls to the ground, smashing into what the hell are you doing?

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for chairs. I'll never find a book that's about creepy doll house that I can fully enjoy. I wrote the majority of this review a year ago and going through books that I meant to write reviews for and deciding how realistically I am to review a book I read two years ago from the library. So not the best review I've ever written, but I did write thoughts so why now share them.

Crossed Posted to Strangeness Books

Read: 9/03/2019-14/03/2019
Reviewed: 14/03/2019-19/07/2020
Medium: Audiobook
Published Date: 4th October 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Source: Library
TW: I can't remember (breaking and entering; Stalking;)

Saturday 18 July 2020

Hot Wings

I was gone last week. Not for any percudiular reason. Just forgot it was Saturday so I didn't write, for a week.

Netgalley now has arcs for Audiobooks and my life is now complete. I think it will help be more consistent with my arcs on Netgalley but the 200 arcs I have not reviewed are still there. Waiting, patient for the day where I get my shit together. In my defense, I'm been Netgalley a good few years and I have had several flare-ups over that time. I've also reviewed 159 books during that whole time as well. I want to get back to 50% by the end of the year. That's 21 books I need to review. I have read some of those but realistically I need to re-read them to review them because my notes have disappeared from the universe for some reason. There are a few books where I'm sure I started reviews for them. I just can't find them anyway.

Audiobooks don't really get affected by flare-ups. Sometimes my brain won't process text but it not happened to audio completely yet.

I left the house today and went to a restaurant. In an ideal world, I would be able to get TGIFriday's hot wings delivered to my house, but I can't and have been craving them for actual months. Scotland is more under control and everyone was wearing masks so it's fine I guess. No milkshakes or Tacos anymore. The hot wings were heaven so I guess it was worth it. We got milkshakes from five guys. Expensive but nice.

My brother lives in an ideal world because he got mozzarella sticks instead of coming with us like he was meant to. It's not that ideal since this is still happening in it.

There's not a much happening. I brought masks and clothes since I will probably be leaving the house for more than five seconds now. So a lot of money, too much money. I need masks...and My Chemical Romance Merch. I never got to see them this year, I may as well have a cool shirt to wear.
I have a massive spot on my nose, so the masks are convenient. I went into Waterstones today and didn't buy any books so a win.

I'm tired after my big day out so I'll write to you later,

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Book Review: A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll

What species of Shark is the whale species of Dolphins?

A KIND OF SPARK tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there's more to the story of these 'witches', just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard?

I found out about this book on Twitter by following a fellow Autistic book reviewer who had been sent a review copy. So I immediately ordered it once I found out it was Autistic own voices. Frankly, there are not enough own-voices Autistic books, especially as the biggest ones were written chapter by chapter or the idea of an Autistic protagonist is how the author realised she was autistic when she did more research for the book. This is a middle-grade book which I didn't know because I did no research. I actually didn't read the summary of this book, I knew masking was discussed but that was it. I figured it was children's somehow by the cover.

The main character Addie is Autistic and eleven-years-old. This book deals with Ableism that that Autistic kids face, often by the adults who are meant to support them the most. Teachers.  I wasn't diagnosed with Autism as a child but I did face ableism from my Dyslexia diagnosis and my Autistic traits made it so that teachers were terrible to me.

This book is a lot more sympathetic than I would ever be to those teachers (ableist teachers in my novels end up being possessed by demons and its hard to tell when the procession started).

This book does slightly deal with internal ableist, with Keedie, Addie's older sister. It's not in great detail but as this book deals with a lot of Ableism that Autistic people deal with, I think it was just the right touch with this book. Especially, as this Addie's story. I do want Keedie's story, but mostly because I just want more Autistic protagonists in general. I did relate to Keedie too, being an older sibling to a fellow Autistic person. I went through a ton of Ableism and then my sibling went to the same school. Somehow it's gotten worse.

There's a lot of little nods in the books to how Autism has been a thing all along and not just recognised till recently. Also multiple Autistic femme characters.

The plot of this book is Addie learning about Scotland's Witch Trials and how her home village inspires her to do something about it. This went really well with the themes of the book, while

Friendship is a touch on a lot in this book. At the start of the book, Addie is newly Friendless as she has been abandoned by her long time friend Jenna and gains a new friend Audrey whose just moved to the school from London. Friendships are complicated for Autistic people due to us missing out on social clues and not knowing the rules to the game.

This a kinda spoiler but not majorly since this isn't a plot book. It's definitely about the characters.  This book has a trope I really don't like and it's kinda Ableist if not treated right and I don't think this book does enough. I get the reasoning, however, I don't think it was dealt with enough. I talked about it in my Goodreads initials thoughts if you don't care about mild thoughts.

Addie is very relatable to me, I've done a few things she did at the same age.
The only unrelatable thing for me, is Addie doesn't know what is dangerous about the world and my special interest has been true crime a few times, even as a kid. Obviously, not actual criticism.

I really loved this book, I do take issue with one part of this book, which is why I probably rate this 4.5 really. Maybe 4.8 if we're going against the GoodReads system anyway. I think this is a really important book for anyone to read but especially for Autistic kids. This is a book I had wished I had as a kid (even if I don't think I would have looked past a certain trope then). Even if you're not diagnosed, your traits still get you treated badly. In a way. this was a hard book to review because I mostly want to just scream read it and then come discuss it with me.  I think this book proves just why Disabled Own-voices are important.

Read: 11/6/2020
Reviewed: 11/6/2020 –4/7/2020
Medium: Paperback
Published Date: 04/6/2020
Publisher: Knights Of
Source: I brought it.
TW: Ableism, Ableist slurs; Internal Ableism; discussion of being institutionalised, casual racism (challenged), mild discussion of torture;

Crossposted to my other website:

Saturday 4 July 2020

So I Finally Did it.

I am typing this from a new keyboard. My laptop charger broke again. I wasn't sure if it was the charger or I had been betrayed by technology again. My laptop did die without warning. which is shitty of it and something it had been doing often.

So I went to and brought the best laptop that I could reasonably get away with not paying for till next year (or a few months anyway). I had just paid off my Switch which I have not played for a week because I missed a few days and I'm now too scared to go back to my village. I could just time travel and give gifts and get fossils and caught up to the real date.

Point is that I have a new laptop that doesn't have a CD drive which sure is something I only ever use in once a while like when I get an audiobook from the library. You can still buy plugged into CD drive.

I also went to Amazon and brought £20 charger so in case my information could be saved off my laptop. I would mostly be losing Audiobooks that I have negated to put on my phone and where I left off on my e-arcs. My university laptop still lives. I'm probably going to keep using it for other things.

My mother thinks my new laptop is small, but my other laptop was too big. It was actually a pain in the butt to take anyway.

My laptop had been dying for a while and I knew I should replace it sooner or later. Hell, I even went into a shop years before about getting a better one. It's not that it's just old. It was kinda always shitty and ill-fitting for purpose. Frankly, it was never a laptop I would have brought.

I wish my new one had more built-in memory but the ram 16 GBs and I can always plug into an external hard drive into it. I mean from past experience that not always that easy. Steam is definitely confused bu that myth. It should work for editing which I should definitely do more of.

I should always be doing a lot. The speaker is really loud. My old one was useless and couldn't stand to most background noise. Speakers do tend to get weaker the older and more they used.

I've let my reviews go but at least I have an excuse. I was without a computer for a day and a half. I should read and finish my knitting. I'm gonna go because I have a very boring life and who wants to talk about the giant elephant in the corner anyway.


Wednesday 1 July 2020

Book Review: More Bloody Horowitz/Scared to Death by Anthony Horowitz

Oh, Horowitz we meet again...Yeah, we're gonna need to have a talk.

Stories of ultimate revenge, from freshly sold human meat and uncontrollable robots, to life-sucking MP3 players and reality TV where death is the penalty – all told with dark humour and gruesome relish, and made even more fiendish by retro illustrations, chilling facts and a puckish message from the author. This is Anthony Horowitz at his most wicked.

Scared to Death: Ten Sinister Stories by the Master of the Macabre

This chilling collection of ten nightmarish and fiendishly funny short stories is a perfect read for fearless children. From a train journey straight to hell, out of control robots with a murderous streak and even a television show where death is the penalty – these terrifying tales display the dazzling wit and wicked humour of master storyteller Anthony Horowitz, and are guaranteed to make your blood curdle and your spine tingle.

If you've been following my reviews for a while, you know that I'm a big of Horror and read Horrorwitz first horror stories when I teenager. I have since re-read and reviewed those stories. I thought they held up, so I brought this book from a library sale a while ago but ended up reading the ebook from the library because of Lockdown. I had been looking at the graphic novels and saw an adaption of the Hitckhiker, a story in Horowitz Horror collection. It was fine, I think it works better as a story but not worth a writing a full review but it left me curious if they had Horowitz other works. I saw these two story collections, More Bloody Horror and Scared to Death. Thinking they were completely different works, I check both them out.

These are the same books, but with changes to update them. Technically, Scared to Death ends up with less content, which is probably for the best. The first story and Intermission is left out. Probably should have left the terrible poem in as the whole intermission in the re-released. 'Scared to Death' does have its one unique story.

This has the layout out of a newspaper article, which I'm sure is very charming in a physical book but a pain in the butt for me reading it digitally from pdf. Each story has an illustration before it and sometimes a minor one after. The illustrations are well done, if not sometimes spoilerly for what ends up happening to the characters.

I wrote reviews for each story as I went so half of the review was written before I knew that Scared to Death was a re-released with some of the problematic things changed.

The Man Who Killed Darren Shan: I'm sure Horowitz got permission to plot the murder of real children's writer Darren Shan. Though, imagine if he didn't and the first you hear of it is during book festival season. How awkward.  This book was about a failed horror writer deciding that the similarity between his and Shan work being too much for coincidence. 3/5 stars for taking out the competition.

Bet Your Life: So this a game show with an obvious twist, the story takes place on the finale eve which has five finalists so it's perfectly pre-dates Drag Race, including the transphobia (okay, I thought it was four when I made this joke, but it's only a matter of time with Ru). All the finalists are men, because of course, but one of the contestants is a Trans man who they call a 'woman' and use she/her pronouns for him. The exact quote describing him is 'She gave away very little about herself - although, she had let me known if she won, she wanted to become a man.' I could let this go as it being dated, but this book is also sold as comedy apparently. Also know that a Trans woman has won Big Brother, a show referenced in the opening so definitely leaves me on the alert. And I was right because we get a bit of ableist common to reality shows "Clive in his wheelchair, hoping to claw something back in a life that had been wrecked by a car accident". I guess this could count as commentary.

A prefer named is given as Melvyn, so that's what I'll use. He is referred to as 'pitless' and is made out to be the villain in this, like he's a terrible person for competition against a 16-year-old, but not that feeling towards anyone else involved.

Why would the prime minister be the final question giver? How well does pig feel compared to humans? What does this Latin quote mean? How many people am I directly responsible for killing?
Horowitz is a TV writer and there was a very negative feeling towards reality TV at the time. This does and says nothing. It somehow manages to be Cliché almost immediately. The most noticeable is the transphobia for no reason.

Replacing the transphobia is a knowledging you did something wrong but its not enough to take it out. If they had just changed the character to being an openly trans man using the correct name and pronouns, who wants the money for top surgery. That's commentary. I mean the way the character is written is terrible so you would have to actually completely re-write or make another character trans for it to be forgivable. They are no quick fix for transphobia. What I've read of Horowitz work, his books have never been diverse. He rarely writes outside his middle-class white man bubble, so perhaps its best he didn't attempt it. Realistically I'm not sure what the fix is. Maybe this story should have also been taken out of the re-release.
0/5 stars for Transphobia.

You Have Arrived: Steal a car and so it goes badly obviously. This story's illustration tells you the twist before you've read it. It's whatever.  2.5/5 stars for Dionaea Muscipula.

The Cobra: Kid is a brat in a foreign country. Gets his comeuppance. 2.5 for Anti-venom.

Robo-Nanny: Robots kidding on to be 'Mexican to get a job at McDonalds'. The twist at the end ruined it. Why would that be horrorfic for kids? 2/5 stars for Spare Parts.

Transmission: Not really, just excuse for poems.

Bad Dream: A poem about the mud coming for revenge for the father's sins. 2/5 stars.

'Why Horror has No Place in Children's Place by Wendy Grooling'- If we taking notes, besides mothers, the only femme characters have been a Trans man being misgendered, killer robot, and now this fake writer hating on horror. Here's a quote about J.K. Rowling 'It's all too often forgot that she has single-handly taught an entire generation the value of reading,' This is meant to be a joke (I think), but I wouldn't be surprised if that's the Koolaid that Just Kidding is drinking now.
Also Alice in Wonderland has horror elements, which I mean the baby that gets turned into a pig and probably eaten. Maybe that add realism as the people who write long essay about hating on a thing, never know what they talking about.

Oh, no Horowitz you really got me. The 16-year-old who would read and review this book 10 years after publication who gonna point out the transphobia and the lack of girls. Don't worry, I rate you somehow more dated than the 90s Point Horror I also read for kicks. Don't worry, you're a better adult writer than Stine but children? IDK, I haven't played enough attention to which ones weren't ghostwritten. Also definitely not the week for J.K. Rowling to be getting any praise.

Also this references the Hitchkiter whose graphic novel adaption I recently read. The adaption was fine. This is my favourite story because it's not newspaper formatted and meant I didn't have to backtrack while reading it.

There is a crossword, something as a Dyslexic I have always hated. The clues sure are something. Anyway, calls Black Panther terrorist group which is very 60s America. I mean I've not managed to find them a case of them being linked to a terrorist act. Did they go into a building armed? Sure, white people are allowed to that shit. It's fucking questionable to have in a kids book, without a conversation.

My Bloody French Exchange: This another obvious one. These stories are for kids, but definitely feel too young for the character age group. This is just a revamp of the Hitchkiter story so not for fans of the first book. 3/5 stars for the same twist and I'm gonna straight-up reference it.

SheBay: Finally the first girl protagonist, and she immediately human trafficked. Guess what it the same Twist as 'Harriet's Horrible Dream' and even references it. It's slightly different but worse.
1/5 stars because Human trafficking online is definitely real and horrifying.

Fuck, some terrible news. This is where I found out this was re-released as Scared to Death, which my library has as a decent ebook of and would have been a lot easy to read from than this nightmare one. I had already rechecked it out. The transpobia has been removed. The lone AFAB contest now wants to give all her money to donkeys. "She gave away very little about herself - although, she had let me known if she won, she would give all her money away to charity. She particularly wanted to help look after donkeys in Spain." Don't worry Clive is still there but it now references Love Island. Did I change copies when I discovered? No, because of transphobia.

Are you sitting Comfortably?: This told in first POV by our second girl main character, compared to most being in the third person. And I was right to because this book has some casual racism. "At first sight, I thought he might not be British. He was dark-skinned'.  He's still described as dark-skinned in Scared to Death, but his Britishness is not questioned. This probably one of the better stories, especially as it not just a re-harsh of one of his past works. It probably shares themes with Cottage one though. 3.4 stars for life insurance.

Plugged In: "Jeremy Browne is Gay" is graffitied on a bus shelter, this is changed to him being a weirdo in StD. I get the choice and it is probably best not to use the word gay unless you're going to have a conversation about homophobia. That being said what teenager liked Take That enough in 00s to keep up with their single release schedule. That was such a mum band then. They're replaced by Ed Sheeran in 2018. None of the other bands are updated, but a line about Solar-powered MP3 players not existing is taking out. Well, they still don't and probably never will because no one owns mp3s anymore. We all have phones. I guess maybe a few joggers might have them. I guess this was taken because solar power travel banks exist.
4/5 stars for Not Trusting Your Neighbours.

Power: This is a story written by someone who doesn't know a thing about the care system. You can give up a child at any time. They will try and convince you not to. You can put a child in care at any time. The main character ending up naked which is horrifying due to the likely damage to an uncovered body. I think it didn't need to be so obvious, he says "even his boxers". This is another spoiled kid meets a terrible fate. Mixed message with the last story. I guess the moral is be a hermit and never talk to anyone. 2/5 stars for extreme sports.

The J Train: This is the new story in Scared to Death, I suppose to replace Darren Shan Murder one. This book is also dated for its Time of 2018. It mentions 're-reading those Vampire books' and Stranger Things. Really shows that Horowitz does not keep up with the business he's in. Also Hamilton tickets, but who would guess where we ended up two years later. The mother sounds like a goth with killer nails. Two or three hours doing nails isn't really that long if you're doing designs. The most horrifying thing about this story is that Horowitz felt the need to point out that Donald Trump is president and they have a photo of him for some reason. Donald Trump was a Slumlord and New Yorker really don't like him. Why not just have vague a picture of the president. It was just a weird detail. This story is told in the third person and while having a teenager daughter, the main one it follows is the dad, so maybe an effect to balance the gender split but not really.

Seven Cuts: This is a note from the publisher, in this Horowitz is a murder who doesn't take notes. I just don't any of this meta stuff really works. 1/5 stars for not respecting women.

Overall, I gave this book 1/5 stars for Transphobic Donkeys. This is definitely weaker than Horowitz Horror books. There is a reason this was weeded from a library and I'm definitely glad it was when it does have such obvious problematic things in it.
There are no girls in this book. This is a problem with "Boy books" in general, boys are not exposed to girls they own age, just being people in fiction. Girls are so often forced to be the token, even in their own fiction. Basically, we have trick parents into buying their boys books with girl main characters. So that's just a general problem, and girls do like horror as well. His first collection felt more balanced. Maybe it's just because the girl main character stories were the better ones and more spread out instead of just being in the second half of the book.

This book does raise the question, do I have to go back and re-read Horrowitz Horror in the original form I read it to see if it been problematic all along. It has definitely put me off reading any more of Horowitz's work. I've not loved what I've read since that first collection, either been okay or this. They are so many other books in the world, so why waste my time with white man nonsense?

Crossed posted to Strangeness Books. I do post reviews earlier on Strangeness Books, basically, as soon as I finished them.

Read: 8/6/2020 to 11/6/2020
Reviewed: 8/6/2020 - 26/6/2020
Medium: PDF/Ebook
Published Date: September 1st 2010 (re-released October 4th 2018)
Publisher: Walker & Company (Walker Books)
Source: Library
CW: Casual Transphobia; Causal Ableism; fatphobic; Causal Racism; Causal Homophobia;